Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
From article: 4 Public-College Presidents Pass $1-Million Mark in Pay
Public higher education’s million-dollar club just got bigger. Four public-college presidents earned more than $1-million in 2011-12, up from three a year earlier, a Chronicle analysis has found. The median total compensation for public-college leaders rose to $441,392, an increase of 4.7 percent from 2010-11.
The top earner was Graham B. Spanier, who received $2.9-million. Mr. Spanier, who was fired in 2011 in connection with a child-sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach, received most of his money in severance pay and deferred compensation, which is money he earned during his 16-year presidency that was not previously paid out.
The Chronicle’s analysis included 212 college leaders at 191 public institutions.
Every day, Americans benefit from public structures that contribute to our quality of life. When we walk into a clean, well-maintained post office; drive on federal highways; send our kids to school knowing they’ll get a hot lunch; or call the Social Security benefits office with a question, we see our federal tax dollars at work, providing public services we rely on.
What most Americans don’t know is that many of the workers keeping our nation humming are paid low wages, earning barely enough to afford essentials like food, health care, utilities and rent. Through federal contracts and other funding, our tax dollars are fueling the low-wage economy and exacerbating inequality. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts, grants, loans, concession agreements and property leases go to private companies that pay low wages, provide few benefits, and offer employees little opportunity to work their way into the middle class. At the same time, many of these companies are providing their executives with exorbitant compensation.
We find that nearly two million private sector employees working on behalf of America earn wages too low to support a family, making $12 or less per hour. This is more than the number of low-wage workers at Walmart and McDonalds combined.1 Yet, if anything, this figure underestimates the total number of poorly-paid workers funded by our tax dollars. Our analysis encompasses U.S. workers employed by government contractors, paid by federal health care spending, supported by Small Business Administration loans, working on federal construction grants, and maintaining buildings leased by the federal government. This encompasses the largest share of poorly-paid workers funded by our taxes. However, other streams of funding have yet to be analyzed. For example, loans and subsidies from the Department of Agriculture fund giant agribusinesses that employ more than a million farm workers, while grants from the Department of Education fund low-wage assistant teachers, bus monitors and cooks in Head Start and other programs. Due to lack of data, retail and food service workers for concessionaires of the National Parks Service and other federal agencies also fall outside our analysis.
These are employees working on behalf of America, doing jobs that we have decided are worthy of public funding—yet they’re being treated in a very un-American way. Our nation has a history of ensuring our tax dollars provide decent jobs. From the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act to Executive Order 11246 of 1965, and a host of other laws and executive actions, our laws have mandated that companies working on behalf of the American people are upholding high standards of employment practices. Yet as the nature and prevalence of federal contracting, lending and grant-making have changed, and some laws have been weakened, working people have fallen through the cracks.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bakken Formation is an oil-producing shale formation underneath North Dakota, Montana, and parts of Canada. In recent years, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, combined with higher prices for crude oil, have led to rapid increases in oil extraction from shale formations like the Bakken Formation. As of late 2011, North Dakota was the fourth largest oil-producing state, after Texas, Alaska, and California.1 The large increase in oil production has led to growth in employment and wages and has changed the industry profile of employment in the region.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
EQUAL PAY IS A FAMILY ISSUE. Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and are a growing number of breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men.When women are not paid fairly, not only do they suffer, but so do their families.
While progress has been made, the pay gap affects all women and is larger among minority women and women with disabilities. Over the course of her lifetime, this pay gap will cost a woman and her family lost wages, reduced pensions and diminished Social Security benefits.
This guide is designed to help working women understand their rights under certain laws that govern equal pay and compensation.
AAUP releases 2012-2013 Salary Survey
Source: American Association of University Professors
The AAUP has released its new salary survey, Here’s the News: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13. The AAUP’s annual report is the premier source for data on full-time faculty salaries, and this year’s report also provides updates on pay and working conditions for colleagues in contingent appointments.
Proxy Monitor Report — Winter 2013 — Political Spending, Say on Pay, and Other Key Issues to Watch in the 2013 Proxy Season
Source: Manhattan Institute
In recent years, a subset of shareholder activists has sought to advance social or political causes by proposing shareholder resolutions on proxy ballots presented at corporate annual meetings. To study this phenomenon, the Manhattan Institute in 2011 launched its Proxy Monitor project, centered on the ProxyMonitor.org online database, the first publicly available, searchable resource that catalogs shareholder proposals submitted to large corporations (now updated to include the 250 largest U.S. publicly traded companies by revenue, as ranked by Fortune magazine). The ProxyMonitor.org database also includes shareholder-advisory votes on executive compensation, now required at least triennially for all publicly traded companies under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
This, the 16th in a series of reports and findings published under the auspices of the Manhattan Institute’s Proxy Monitor project, previews the 2013 proxy season—the period between mid-April and late June when most public companies hold annual meetings.
Part I of this report looks at the 2012 shareholder-proposal record, including submission trends, proposal subject matter, proposal sponsors, and proposals receiving majority support. This analysis contains shareholder-proposal data for all 250 companies in the ProxyMonitor.org database as well as a broader assessment of shareholder-proposal submissions that did not make proxy ballots, as determined through a company survey. A special-focus section examines shareholder proposals seeking further corporate disclosure of political spending, as well as recent regulatory efforts and litigation designed to achieve that end.
Part II surveys executive-compensation advisory vote results for 2012 and discusses a wave of 2012 shareholder litigation based on companies’ executive-compensation advisory vote disclosures. A special-focus section examines the executive-compensation record of the largest proxy-advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), by tracking its 2011 recommendations against subsequent share-price movement.
Part III looks forward to the 2013 proxy season, with a recap of early shareholder-voting results for companies holding annual meetings in the first six weeks of 2013.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 established the hourly minimum wage rate at 25 cents for covered workers.1 Since then, it has been raised 22 separate times, in part to keep up with rising prices. Most recently, in July 2009, it was increased to $7.25 an hour. Because there have been some extended periods between these adjustments while inflation generally has increased, the real value (purchasing power) of the minimum wage has decreased substantially over time.
Source: Council of State Governments
President Obama stressed economic equality and opportunity, focusing particularly on the financial woes of those earning the minimum wage, during his recent State of the Union address.
“Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong,” the president said. “Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty.” He called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour by the end of 2015 and tie it to inflation, a move the White House estimates would bump up the wages of about 15 million low-income workers.
The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was in 2009, when it went from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour. Since then, the upward creeping cost of living has eroded the value of that wage. If it had been adjusted for inflation, it would be around $7.61 today. If the rate moves to $9 an hour, it will be the highest—in inflation-adjusted terms—that it has been since 1979.
Source: Tax Foundation
As the Baltimore Ravens bask in their glory after their Sunday night Super Bowl XLVII victory against the San Francisco 49ers, they must now prepare to be hit by the the federal income tax. All 53 players on the roster make at least $390,000, so after subtracting a personal exemption (which is actually phased out at $250,000) and a standard deduction, they would all face the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% on their $150,000 in post season earnings for their victories in the Division Playoff, the Conference Championship Game, and the Super Bowl.
Although these players have the ability to pay their taxes when receiving an NFL salary and are amongst the top percent of earners in the United States, the amount of federal income taxes owed on their salaries and post season shares is shocking when only a personal exemption and a standard deduction is subtracted. Haloti Nagata as the highest earner with a 2012 salary of $10.4 million would pay around $4.1 million if this income and his post season income both accrued in 2013. This is probably an overstatement of actual income tax paid because most players would take advantage of itemized deductions (which are now limited) and credits to lower their tax liability to some degree. But even if he had $1 million in itemized deductions, he would still end up paying $3.8 million in federal income tax, plus another $250,000 in federal payroll tax, and that does not include the employer portion of payroll taxes. His effective federal tax rate would be 39 percent.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA) provides federal assistance to workers who have been adversely affected by foreign trade. It was most recently authorized by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 (TAAEA; Title II of P.L. 112-40).
To be eligible for TAA, a group of workers must establish that they were separated from their employment either because their jobs moved outside the United States or because of an increase in directly competitive imports. Workers at firms that are suppliers to or downstream producers of TAA-certified firms may also be eligible for TAA benefits. Under current law, both production and service workers are eligible for TAA.
After the Department of Labor verifies the role of foreign trade in the group’s job losses, workers may apply for individual benefits. These benefits are funded by the federal government and, with limited exception, administered by the states.
• Reemployment services are available to assist trade-affected workers in planning for and returning to employment. Training is the largest reemployment service expense. Eligible training programs include a variety of public and private options and may not exceed 104 weeks. In lieu of or in addition to training, workers may receive employment services such as case management, skills assessment, and job search assistance. Workers may also receive allowances for job searches outside their local commuting area and relocation expenses once a new job has been secured. Under current law, annual expenditures on reemployment services are capped at $575 million.
• Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) is an income support for TAA-certified workers who have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI) and are enrolled in an eligible training program. TRA payments are equal to the workers’ final UI benefit. Workers may receive UI and TRA for a combined total of 117 weeks and 130 weeks under certain circumstances.
• Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) is available to TAAcertified workers age 50 and over. This program supplements the wages of eligible workers who secure new employment at a lower wage.
• A Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) is also available to TAA-certified workers. This program offers a refundable tax credit equal to 72.5% of expenditures on a qualified health plan. Unlike other TAA benefits, the HCTC is administered through the federal tax code and not by state agencies.
Eligibility and benefits for TAA are scheduled to be reduced beginning on January 1, 2014. The program will operate under these reduced provisions for one year before authorization for appropriations expires on December 31, 2014.
This report provides background on the TAA program. After a brief introduction, it discusses TAA eligibility and benefits as set by TAAEA. It then describes how the program is funded and administered. The report concludes by presenting data on recent application activity and benefit usage.
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
The brief’s key findings are:
- Many public sector pension plans have recently cut pension benefits for new hires, thereby reducing compensation.
- The analysis looks at how such cutbacks could affect the quality of teachers.
- One proxy for teacher quality is the average SAT score at a teacher’s undergraduate institution.
- The analysis finds that school districts with higher wages and/or higher pensions are able to hire teachers from institutions with higher SAT scores.
- These results suggest that cutting compensation for new teachers is not costless, as it will likely reduce applicant quality.
Source: American Economic Association
Why do Indian software workers employed by U.S. firms earn more in the U.S. than in India? There are several possibilities, among which is the pure effect of location on workers’ economic product. This study seeks to isolate the location effect from other effects in a single setting via a natural experiment: a randomized allocation of temporary U.S. visas among one group of Indian software programmers. In this setting, outputs are close to perfectly tradable, workers in the U.S. and India are observably and unobservably identical in expectation, effects like Baumol’s cost disease and cost-of-living compensating differentials are less relevant, and some of the plausible effects of place on productivity (such as access to technology) are identical for both groups. The large majority of the earnings gap remains, suggesting that these workers are several times more economically productive solely due to working in the U.S. rather than in India. This effect is measured for a single firm and external validity is circumscribed. Further study of the effect of location on economic product has implications for the economic gains to migration, trade, and technology transfer.
Housing Wealth and Wage Bargaining
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
We examine the relationship between housing equity and wage earnings. We first provide a simple model of wage bargaining where failure leads to both job loss and mortgage default. Moreover, foreclosure generates disutility beyond selling a home. We test this prediction using nine waves of the national American Housing Survey. Employing a rich set of time and place controls, individual fixed effects, and an instrumental variable strategy, we find that people with an underwater mortgage command a significantly lower wage than other homeowners. This finding survives a number of robustness checks. We also include other determinants of “house lock” such as a favorable mortgage interest rate relative to the current rate and a capped property tax assessment, but we do not find these factors lower earnings. We conclude that negative equity matters because default is unpleasant or costly, not because it precludes an out-of-state job search.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances.
First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress, limits on their outside earned income and honoraria, available life and health insurance, and retirement benefits.
Second, the report provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties. These allowances cover official office expenses, including staff, mail, travel between a Member’s district or state and Washington, DC, and other goods and services.
Third, the report lists the salaries of Members, House and Senate officers and officials, and salary limits for committee staff.
This information is derived from House and Senate hearings, reports, and annual and supplemental legislative branch appropriations acts; the U.S. Code and U.S. Code Annotated Supplements to Title 2; Order of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, implementing a pay increase for House employees; Order of the President pro tempore, implementing a pay increase for Senate employees; the Members’ Congressional Handbook, prepared by the Committee on House Administration, available at http://cha.house.gov/; the quarterly Statement of Disbursements of the House, compiled by the House Chief Administrative Officer, available at http://disbursements.house.gov/; the semiannual Report of the Secretary of the Senate, available at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/generic/report_secsen.htm; and the Office of Personnel Management for executive level pay rates to which some legislative employees are statutorily linked.
Further information on salaries of Members of Congress may be found in CRS Report 97-615, Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2012, by Ida A. Brudnick and CRS Report 97-1011, Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables, by Ida A. Brudnick. Additional information on other topics may be found in reports referenced throughout.
Financial Viability and Retirement Assets: A Look at Small Business Owners and Private Sector Workers
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration
• Having an underwater mortgage did not have a significant effect on the likelihood that a small business owner invested in retirement assets or on the amount of retirement assets they accumulated.
• On the other hand, having an underwater mortgage increases the likelihood that private sector workers had a retirement account and increases the amount that these workers invest in retirement accounts.
• Owners of smaller businesses (fewer than 25 workers) were significantly less likely to invest in retirement assets and had lower amounts than owners of larger firms.
• The data depict the differences in asset allocation choices between small business owners and wage and salary workers and the use of different assets for retirement purposes.
• Wage and salary worker retirement plan behavior exhibited a similar pattern with respect to employment in smaller versus larger firms.
• The study’s findings suggest the following:
- There is a need to reexamine federal rules and regulations written to equalize the benefits within companies between workers and highly compensated individuals/owners to help both business owners and wage and salary workers increase their ownership and accumulation of individual account retirement assets.
- In addition, new policies to expand automatic enrollment to owners as well as workers may need to be considered.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)
Congress is required by Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution to determine its own pay. Prior to 1969, Congress did so by enacting specific legislation. From 1789 through 1968, Congress raised its pay 22 times using this procedure. Members were initially paid per diem. The first annual salaries, in 1815, were $1,500. Per diem pay was reinstituted in 1817. Congress returned to annual salaries, at a rate of $3,000, in 1855. By 1968, pay had risen to $30,000. Specific legislation may still be used to raise Member pay, as it was most recently in 1982, 1983, 1989, and 1991; but two other methods—including an automatic annual adjustment procedure and a commission process—are now also available.
The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 established the current automatic annual adjustment formula, which is based on changes in private sector wages as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI). The adjustment is automatic unless denied statutorily, although the percentage may not exceed the percentage base pay increase for General Schedule (GS) employees.
Members of Congress last received a pay adjustment in January 2009. At that time, their salary was increased 2.8%, to $174,000 from $169,300. A provision in the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act prohibited any pay adjustment for 2010. Under the pay adjustment formula, Members were originally scheduled to receive an adjustment in January 2010 of 2.1%, although this would have been revised downward automatically to 1.5% to match the GS base pay adjustment. Members next were scheduled to receive a 0.9% pay adjustment in 2011. The pay adjustment was prohibited by P.L. 111-165 (H.R. 5146), which was enacted on May 14, 2010. Additionally, P.L. 111-322, which was enacted on December 22, 2010, prevented any adjustment in GS base pay before December 31, 2012. Since the percentage adjustment in Member pay may not exceed the percentage adjustment in the base pay of GS employees, Member pay is also frozen during this period. If not limited by GS pay, Members could have received a salary adjustment of 1.3% in January 2012 under the ECI formula.
Under the pay adjustment formula, Members could receive a maximum pay adjustment in January 2013 of 1.1%. This percentage could be lowered due to (1) lower increases for the General Schedule, as proposed by the President, which would automatically limit the Member pay adjustment; and (2) legislation introduced in the House and Senate (for example, H.R. 3630, H.R. 3835, H.R. 3858, S. 2079) to extend the current pay freeze.
This report contains information on the pay procedure and recent adjustments. It also contains historical information on the rate of pay for Members of Congress since 1789; the adjustments projected by the Ethics Reform Act as compared to actual adjustments in Member pay; details on past legislation enacted with language prohibiting the annual pay adjustment; and Member pay in constant and current dollars since 1992. For information on actions taken each year since the establishment of the Ethics Reform Act adjustment procedure, see CRS Report 97-615, Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2012, by Ida A. Brudnick.
Members of Congress only receive salaries during the terms for which they are elected. Former Members of Congress may be eligible for retirement benefits. For additional information on benefit requirements, contributions, and formulas, see CRS Report RL30631, Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress, by Katelin P. Isaacs.
New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION ACT
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION ACT
Analysis of Proposed Program Changes
SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION